Midgets ready for final West Region home dual
The postponement of the West Region dual against Turtle Mountain on Jan. 16 maybe turn out to be a blessing for the Dickinson High wrestling team — especially in the sense of allowing wrestlers to get healthy.
The Midgets host Bismarck Century in their final home West Region dual of the season at 6 p.m. today at DHS gymnasium. The three seniors — Devin Berger, Chris Sickler and Michael Cherwinski — will be celebrating “Parents Night.”
“It’s going to be different knowing that we aren’t going to come back to wrestle another West Region dual here,” Sickler said. “It’s also something special with it being parents night and we get to thank them for following us all over.”
Dickinson co-head coach Adam Orton added: “We are going to keep our goals high. If we wrestle, do our part, take our points and don’t give any, we could come out with a win.”
Though it will be the last West Region dual at DHS gymnasium, the Midgets host the West Region Tournament on Feb. 8.
“It help us out a lot having WDA here,” Sickler said. “We wrestle better if we get to sleep in our own beds and get a good night sleep before. It should be fun. We’ll have our home crowd cheering us on.”
Dickinson’s final three duals are against the top three teams in the West Region. The Midgets travel to Bismarck High at 6 p.m. Thursday and hit the road to dual Turtle Mountain at 4 p.m. Jan. 31. Orton said every West Region dual is important.
“We are going to dual everyone in the West Region,” Orton said. “I don’t think the order really makes a difference. Whoever is in front of us, we want to our best against them.”
Sickler knows about dealing with injuries in the latter part of the season. The senior, who switches between 220 pounds and heavyweight, has dealt with injuries to his left shoulder and knee. He said it was great to have a week off where the team didn’t have to worry about enduring its first West Region dual loss of the season without a full starting roster.
With a win against either Century or Turtle Mountain, the Midgets will likely guarantee themselves a higher seed than No. 4 for the North Dakota Class A state duals tournament. The No. 3 seed or higher would likely give Dickinson a great chance of not seeding two-time defending champion West Fargo in the first round of the state duals tournament.
“It helps us a lot that we will be healthy and bring in those team points that we need,” Sickler said.
Though the Midgets are dealing with some bumps and bruises, Orton said every team in the state is experiencing the same.
“It’s a good thing that the weather worked out well for us,” Orton said. “Everybody is sore and stuff from wrestling, but we’ve had a few of our starters that we were able to get healthy.”
Receiving a bounce-back performance
The Dickinson High gymnastics team needed a pick-me-up after a tough showing on Jan. 10 in Jamestown.
Dickinson received the boost of confidence after scoring a 147.975 during the Wahpeton Invitational on Saturday.
The Midgets continue their road travels by going to the Gym-O-Rama meet in Rapid City (S.D.) on Saturday. The Gym-O-Rama features the two-time defending South Dakota state champion Rapid City Central.
“It will be nice to compete against some other teams,” Dickinson head coach Kent Van Ells said. “It’s a nice trip to get away from a lot teams we see throughout a majority of the season.”
Dickinson has already competed and defeated Central during the Dickinson High Invitational on Dec. 13, but the Cobblers didn’t have their top two gymnasts — a pair who were South Dakota’s state all-around champion and runner-up last season.
“The several years when (Central) came here they haven’t brought a complete team and when we go down there, they are really good,” Van Ells said. “I sense it is going to be a close meet.”
Despite losing two gymnasts from last season who each had the ability of scoring 36 points or higher in the all-around, Van Ells is pleased with where the team is standing.
The Midgets have four returning all-around gymnasts from last year’s championship team — including three-time all-around champion sophomore Acacia Fossum. The team also returns senior Mikaela Kessel — the defending state floor exercise champion — as well as junior Jill Mueller and sophomore Keana Kudrna.
“It’s different this year than last year, because last year we had extra depth,” Van Ells said. “We don’t have that extra this year, so this year we are relying on some untested kids. I’m real pleased with how they are doing.”